You Have to Be a Great Writer
Definitely untrue. The PA school application essay isn’t a literary contest, it is simply a way for admissions to evaluate your soft skills, like the ability to communicate ideas clearly, your character, personality, ethics, etc- to get a better feel for your ability to handle PA school & advanced medical practice.
Are there students who also happen to be good writers?- Yes, and the process of getting words on paper may be smoother, but it in no way means they are better prepared for the PA profession.
They are looking to know you are an excellent communicator who can communicate complex & medical issues with clarity because you need that in medicine, whether it be to document in charts, speak to patients & their families, write research papers or lectures.
You need to Spend a Month or More on it
False! Typically my students take about 2 weeks from start to send when working with me inside Personal Statement Mastery. A month is plenty of time if your efforts are focused on consistent progress.
Getting a professional Edit will increase your chances of getting accepted.
Not true. Just like Pre-PA coaching, Professional essay editing is a “nice to have” if you can spare the cash, but in no way a requirement to get accepted.
You Need to Have a Dramatic Story to Stand out
Definitely NOT. In fact, over-dramatizing or over-communicating in your personal statement may take focus away from YOU & the main points you are trying to convey if it doesn't come naturally to you and/or isn’t real. Added drama or flair can never make up for a lack of quality content in your essay. Quality Content > Gimmicks Always.
You Have to Entertain the Reader
No. If you can stay professional while still conveying your message & If that is your personality and writing style, it's fine- but this tends to occur in very, very unique situations & IMO rarely hits the mark. More often than not it comes across as extra fluff that distracts from a lack of substance.
You have to Come Across as Super-Confident
Nah. Just conveying HUMBLE CONFIDENCE in your strengths is enough. Think about this: Anyone that tries to maintain a facade of total and complete confidence on their entire journey to medicine may not be being truthful. Everyone struggles at some point or another on this journey & being candid about that & putting the focus on how you overcame them is better, IMO.
You have to tell them Every Single Thing you Have Going for You
Definitely NOT. They have your transcripts & records so generally, there is no need to describe your resume or academic records. It's better to focus more on the cool stuff about you that they can’t know from your records that make you especially poised to succeed in medicine.
You Have to Talk about Your Childhood or Traumas
For the love of GOD- NO. you really do not have to, unless it happens to be super relevant to your journey into medicine & if you are 100% comfortable with it. I'd say unless there is a way in which it strengthened you as a candidate via overcoming, but if you find yourself questioning whether what you wrote will make the reader uncomfortable or if your essay incites more pity than inspiration please re-evaluate.
You Can’t Talk About Your Weaknesses, Only Strengths
Wrong. Vulnerability is a superpower if you use it to be candid about the relevant experiences where you struggled and overcame. I highly encourage you to dig deep & spend some time being honest with yourself about what experiences you have struggled with most, as those tend to be the places that typically create the most personal & professional growth.
You Can’t be Cliche
You actually can- if it's your truth. For instance, I was the little girl who always wanted to be in medicine for as long as I can remember, & my personal statement reflected my evolution from a childhood dreamer to a lifetime of exploring medicine in different ways which eventually made me a solid candidate.
Pro-tip: You can use any cliche in your essay such as I want to help people” by detailing how exactly you have done that.
Overall the process of crafting your personal statement will be made easier if you focus on YOU & YOUR truth- the good, bad, and ugly of your personal & professional growth, evolution & preparation for advanced medical training and practice.
Now that you know what NOT to do when writing your essay, bypass confusion, googling & save hours of spinning your wheels & let me walk you through the things you MUST DO to write an acceptance-worthy personal statement by joining one of my classes.